01-06-2012, 11:19 AM
In terms of the presumed purity of girls and women in the past: one reason that many childless couples today adopt from China or the Ukraine or wherever is that there is a shortage of adoptable white children born in the U.S. This shortage did not exist previously. Those plentiful babies of long ago came from somewhere.
What generally happened was that a girl went away "to stay with her aunt" for a few months and came home to resume her life. The baby was given away for adoption--whether the girl wanted to give it up or not. If you want to put a negative spin on the change from those days, you could say that feminism ruined the domestic adoption industry.
I will agree that there is way too much commodification of sex these days, and that kids are exposed to it way too early and are acting on it way too early. But the factors that have caused that are many, including the rise of television and other forms of mass media, which predate the second wave of feminism. I think both liberals and conservatives would benefit from a change in that trend if we worked on it together. Will we achieve universal abstinence before marriage? I doubt it, because we're dealing with human nature. It didn't happen in the days when everyone was expected to show up at church twice a week. It certainly won't happen in the 21st century.
01-06-2012, 11:30 AM
Wicked Yankee Girl
One could blame the commodification of sex more on Hugh Hefner (who Playboy empire, and so-called "Playboy philosophy" of essentially 'whatever floats your boat' preceded the modern rebirth of feminism). You can't commodify sex much more than Hugh did.
In fact, just to make the order of events clear: Gloria Steinem first came clearly into public notice doing an inside expose of the Playboy Bunny clubs.
A Bunny's Tale, 1963, can be downloaded at the above link.
For reference, contraception was still illegal for married couples in CT when this story was written.
Playboy Magazine was founded in 1953.
01-06-2012, 12:10 PM
Off the ice
I don't think it should be a goal, either. Why should people practice abstinence if they don't wish to? Marriage is a huge commitment, and some people aren't ready for it but want to be sexually active. I don't see a problem with consensual premarital sex (between adults, or sufficiently mature teenagers).
Originally Posted by Olympia
I think it's probably fair to say that the commodification of sex began well before Hugh Hefner was even born: there was erotic/pornographic art and literature, and many sex workers, ranging from streetwalkers to those working in brothels to high-end courtesans (here's one famous example). What has probably changed is the visibility of sex, for many reasons. If anything, I suspect that more liberal societal norms regarding sex would lead to a decrease in the number of sex workers relative to the size of the population.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
01-06-2012, 01:38 PM
This has linked to the fact that it's generally lack of guidance from parents to children in western society as well. I remember Johnny Weir talked about his first time sexual arousal at age 6 when he was watching movie "Pretty Woman". How could any parents allow a 6-year-old to watch such rated "R", also such a story about a prostitute and a rich man, movie is completely beyond me!!! Many parents simply need to change their selfish attitude about their own entertainment and enjoyment for their lives if they wish to raise families, IMO.
Originally Posted by Olympia
01-06-2012, 02:17 PM
Buttercup makes a good point. For much of human history, women (and some men) have turned to work in the sex trades out of desperation. They came from poor backgrounds, lacked sufficient education to develop an adequate trade, were forced into it by family or predators in their communities, were victims of war, were suddenly widows, etc. The social safety nets so often decried these days as "socialism" were virtually non-existent until the last century of so. Until the late 19th or early 20th century, the best level of support a poor, unemployed woman could hope for was possibly a couple of handouts from the church or taking up a space in a work house. Frankly, life as a prostitute was preferable for most poor women to life in a work house, where people literally lived like rats crammed into small rooms, infested with disease, lacking heat, food, privacy and basic sanitation.
Crude as it may sound, but sex has always had an element of commodity to it. The very act of sex is a negotiation between the two parties. Is it a means of bonding, an expression of love and trust, a means of procreation? Yes. But it is also means of survival for many women who have no other options. Historically it has been a means to hold on to a man who acts as provider and protector. Eventually that became monetized. None of this is new. It's as old as civilization itself, if not older.
But back to Buttercup's larger point. There is no shame in our basic sexuality. Humans are sexual beings. We are one of the rare species on earth that appears capable of having sex for pleasure as well as to procreate. It's unreasonable, impractical, presumptuous and downright creepy to assert that it should only occur in one way and under particular preconditions. Not every cultural norm fits with this very western, very Judeo-Christian, very male-centric outlook. Women have exercised their sexual power in very positive ways in non-western cultures where they are free to openly express their desire and to choose their own partner. Male dominated societies have long practiced a double standard where men could be viewed as heroic, morally upstanding citizens while openly practicing sex outside marriage, while women were expected to be chaste, submissive, humble and only receptive to sex at the request of their husbands. Thankfully, we've moved past that sort of limited thinking at least in this country. If there are side effects and consequences to go along with that, so be it. That is true of any significant social change.
Freeing the slaves and granting them citizenship (under the 13th and 14th amendments) in the US removed a significant source of free labor from American southern states and had century long impact on their ability to compete economically with northern ones. It also started the ball rolling for much of the social change experienced domestically by Americans. Still, no one is arguing seriously that we go back to subjecting a significant portion of the populace to unpaid labor to boost economic growth or reverse various changes. Desegregating schools (Brown v. Board of Education), done with the intent of equalizing access to education, had many side effects. The legal arguments made in that case (based around various clauses of the 14th amendment) laid the foundation for other landmark decisions: the aforementioned Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception-due process); Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriage-equal protection); Roe v. Wade (abortion-due process); Lawrence v. Texas (private, consensual sexual contact between same sex adults-due process). Those are all controversial rulings for some segments of the population. Brown also eventually led to black and white children crossing paths in social circles on a more a regular basis in and out of school, listening to each other's music, watching each other's movies, etc. Those children ended up raising their own kids who had a very different outlook on race relations. Those kids are now dating and marrying outside their race in numbers growing faster than ever in this country. Demographically, non-white population groups are outpacing white and are projected to continue doing so for the next 40 years. I'm sure that bothers some people a great deal. Yet no one is seriously arguing that because of those unintended "consequences" we should either not have decided in favor or government mandated desegregation or that we should repeal the 14th amendment or that we established too much equality because those changes may also lead to too much swearing on tv or women in skimpy outfits.
Dislike some of those things all you want, but to argue against progress just because of a few percieved stumbling blocks strikes me as misguided.
ETA: Bluebonnet, I recall reading about prostitutes and women who used their sexuality as a tool as a 6 year old. Their names were Jezebel, Bathsheba, Salome, and (depending on your interpretation of the text) Mary of Bethany/Mary Magdalene. All biblical figures. All mentioned openly in church during readings at Mass. So shameful. How could my mother have allowed such a travesty? Of course you are entirely right about children never, ever being curious about sex before they hit puberty. They never devise any games they can play to explore what all those funny parts are for. And if they do, they should be told to just go outside and climb a tree or play dress up.
She also let me watch Bambi, Dumbo, Snow White and E.T. around the same age. As I recall, those movies address violent death by firearm, intentional poisoning, divorce, forced servitude, animal cruelty, child abandonment and orphans. Pretty heavy stuff for anyone to deal with. What must she have been thinking?
Last edited by jcoates; 01-06-2012 at 02:37 PM.
01-06-2012, 02:49 PM
The parallels of emancipation and school integration are good ones, jcoates. I really like your reasoning about the effects of such changes and how they apply to the changes of the women's movement.
Though I have to say, I side with Bluebonnet about kids being exposed to things like Pretty Woman at that early an age. Reading about Bathsheba isn't exactly the same thing, especially in the King James version. I was plenty elderly before I really understood why David sent Uriah the Hittite into the thick of battle. Seeing Richard Gere snuggle up with Julia Roberts would have had an immediate effect of some sort on me at the age of six, even if it was just anxious confusion. But this just goes to prove that not all liberals or all feminists hold to all the same opinions.
Actually, if people paid more attention to the goals of classic feminism, they'd be less likely to just play around and have kids at fourteen and go nightclubbing all the time. Most feminists wanted to give women the chance to go to college and become CEOs! They encouraged women to become economically independent so they could marry when they found the right guy, not out of economic desperation. They urged women to plan their families not just to make room for a career but to benefit the children, because there would be enough resources (both time and money) to pay attention to each child and nurture him/her as an individual, not just as another mouth to feed. Not that every supporter of women's rights was a bastion of virtue, but these were the main aspirations of most feminists I ever met or read about. There's nothing about such goals that automatically lead to an amoral society of sex maniacs.
Last edited by Olympia; 01-06-2012 at 02:53 PM.
01-06-2012, 03:10 PM
Olympia, yes some, perhaps most, kids are not able to process certain information as complex as watching Pretty Woman. Others are endlessly inquisitive and are capable of digesting more complex subjects than the norm. Each child should be treated according to what he or she can handle. I suspect Johnny was that kind of child and judging by how frank and up front his mother is, I suspect she adjusted her parenting his accordingly. I was a similar kind of child. I questioned everything even when it made people uncomfortable. Simple explanations were never enough for me. If you tried to hide something from me, I would seek it out on my own. It was always better to be direct with me rather than to gloss over a subject. I watched the news with my family for pete's sake as a pre-schooler and then discussed it with them. My point is that if every child is different and we should not be holding parents to such limited standards. They know their kids better than we do.
01-06-2012, 03:18 PM
^^^This is simply ridiculous! No wonder...
You can continue to argue. I'm out of here!
01-06-2012, 03:47 PM
Wicked Yankee Girl
If you are having trouble posting in the Politics Forum, including this thread, it's because you have not yet posted 100 posts. We set a limit on post count for Politics during the 2006 primary, when we had a large group of people politically spamming the site who were not interested in skating.
I'm thinking perhaps we should roll back this restriction.
01-07-2012, 01:57 PM
Did he mention by whom? The actor or the actress? Not that it would change my attitude toward homosexuality, it could serve as one testimony to either the "inborn theory" or the "choice theory" of homosexuality. I'm just curious about the answer.
Originally Posted by Bluebonnet
01-07-2012, 02:29 PM
Wicked Yankee Girl
It's interesting to me that many people find the word "lady" to have a positive connotation. When I was young, it had mostly negative connotations, in the area where I lived.
A little lady was the kind of little girl who wore patent leather mary jane's out to play, would play no games but Dolls, House, or School, and when playing House, insisted on being Mother, and when playing School, insisted on being the teacher. Basically, an overdressed prima donna who would not be caught dead climbing a tree.
When I got a little older, it was a "right little lady" meaning the sort of little girl who snottily wanted to order other little girls around.
Ladies were the spouses of Lords, the kind of people we had revolted against in the American Revolution. Sometimes it appeared that our revenge was to devalue their names, as in the phrase "Cleaning Lady", not to mention the above two uses.
The only good use was "a nice lady", generally used of a teacher you liked.
So it was a surprise, when I moved around the country, to discover two things:
Ladies were in higher regard in many areas
There was a mysterious belief that opposed to ladies, there were "trailer trash" and "white trash", usages that were unfamiliar to me. The people using these terms generally though of themselves as Christians. I found the use mysterious, because it presupposed that the God they believed in spent a large block of his efforts manufacturing "Trash", only occasionally being able to rise to the creation of a Lady.
How was it where you grew up?
01-07-2012, 03:21 PM
When I was growing up I don't remember any particular connotation to "lady" -- just a generic nice adult female person (the Library Lady, church ladies, the ladies of the PTA). We were expected to behave like "little ladies and gentlemen," especially at church or a birthday party. The opposite of "little ladies and gentlemen" was "wild Indians."
01-07-2012, 05:18 PM
My recollection is more like that of Mathman, that "lady" was a polite and respectful term to use when referring to an adult female. In fact, where I grew up, I think little kids weren't supposed to use the word "woman." It was too presumptuous, rather aggressive and rude, overly familiar--like addressing an adult by her first name.
Linguistics scholars would have a field day with this. In fact, I think I'll bring this up with my friend, a linguistics professor. I'm sure she'll find it absorbing.
01-07-2012, 05:59 PM
I get the impression that my mother is around the same age as Doris based on her posts in this thread and I spent a lot of time around my grandparents, so I'm very familiar with the connotation she mentioned about the word. I also am familiar with the uses Mathman mentions. People at church or leading youth groups I was a part of used ladies and gentlemen in a similar way while trying to mold up.
BTW, I could not help but snicker a bit because the descriptions Doris brought up of young girls acting as ladies reminded me 100% of Margaret in the Dennis the Menace.
01-07-2012, 06:55 PM
Wicked Yankee Girl
Little kids were supposed to address adults (and in fact anyone significantly older than they were) by their name: i.e. Mrs. Smith. It was a cardinal sin to refer to Mrs. Smith as 'She'. Consequently, the question of whether to say Mrs. Smith was a Woman or a Lady never came up. She was Mrs. Smith; no pronouns allowed. If Mrs. Smith was a close friend of your mother, she might become a courtesy aunt, like my Aunt Kit (who wasn't related to us at all). There were also courtesy uncles. My husband had an Uncle Joe that he only recently learned was no relation at all.
Conversation was often similar to movies about boot camp: Yes, Drill Sargent Smith, No Drill Sargent Smith, Yes Sir, No Ma'am, etc.
My mother had a cleaning lady. The cleaning lady's name was Mrs. Baruch. My parents always called her Mrs. Baruch, just as we kids did. I didn't learn her first name until I saw her obituary.
And the fuss would be immense if you ever referred to your mother as She.